Hep B Blog

Join Hep B United, CDC DVH, HBF, AAPCHO and CDC NPIN for a Twitter Chat!

Mark you calendars! Join Hep B United,CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis , HBF, AAPCHO and CDC NPIN for a Twitter Chat on Tuesday, November 19th, 3pm EST to discuss the Know Hepatitis B campaign and what Hep B United, partners and coalition members are doing to raise awareness and increase hepatitis B testing and vaccination among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer and a major health disparity among AAPIs who are disproportionately impacted by HBV.

Are you interested in participating in the chat, or following the conversation, but you know nothing about twitter? Here’s a little start-up guide so you have a basic background about twitter and how you might use it as another channel for you or your organization’s HBV messages, events and information, and to communicate with your partners and communities.

Everything You Need to Participate in the Hep B United Twitter Chat, November 19th, 3pm EST

Twitter allows you to stay connected or exchange short messages called tweets with friends, family, co-workers, organizations and partners, and the world at large. You can tweet from your computer, your laptop, i-pad or smartphone. You can use it to update your status on the go, or in HBF’s case, use it to educate and raise hepatitis B awareness. HBF also uses it to send out current or new information on hepatitis B and to make our resources available to others.  It’s also a great way to search for recent HBV news. As a Hep B United Coalition member, or HBV advocate, twitter is a great outlet to get your message out there, and to share information with partners and your community.

What you need to get started:

  • Twitter username
  • Email address
  • Short Bio statement (160 chars or less) about your twitter account
  • Profile picture or logo to brand your twitter account

When creating a twitter account, consider how you plan to use the account. Will this be a personal account, where you can retweet other material that may not be related to your organization, or will you be using the account to promote your work and mission? Since it’s one twitter account per email address, you may wish to tie a personal account to your personal email and a work related twitter account to a work related email.  Consider a “handle” or name that identifies your organization, or consider a name that implies your mission if you aren’t ready to setup an account for your organization (ex. @BAware).

Once you make this decision, you can choose a picture or logo to represent you and come up with a 160-character description of your account. (For example, doctors often have personal accounts where they have their own picture, their name and a bio or profile statement that says where they work and perhaps a disclaimer “Tweets are my own”. The HepB United Philadelphia  (@HepBUnitedPhila) twitter account information states: “Hep B United Philly is a campaign to increase testing and vaccination to fight hepatitis B and liver cancer in Philadelphia – become a partner today!”

Quick overview of the necessarily terminology to get you up and running for the Twitter Chat…

What is a handle? Your twitter username is your handle. For example HBF’s twitter handle is @HepBFoundation. Handles are preceded with a @symbol. You can find us at www.twitter.com/HepBFoundation , and Hep B United at www.twitter.com/HepBUnited

What is a tweet? A tweet is basically a short message or status that you post to twitter. You can compose a tweet by clicking on the blue compose button in the top right corner, or from the “Compose New Tweet” box (top left after you login) Tweets are kept at 140 characters or less. If you make your tweets about 10 characters shorter, you’ll leave room for others to easily retweet your messages.  Don’t worry. Twitter does the counting for you. For purposes of the chat, you will need to leave room for the #KnowHepB hashtag, which must be attached to all tweets in order to be shared with participants.

Your message can be just that – a message: “#Hepatitis B affects 1 in 12 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders”, or you can add a reference to the source such as HBF’s simplified Chinese HBV website. You can invoke a URL shortener that will take long URLs like  http://www.hepb.org/simplifiedchinese/ and turn it into: http://ow.ly/oy6Vg . Both the message and the shortened URL characters are counted as part of the total length of the tweet.

What is a retweet? A retweet or RT is when you repost someone else’s tweet so it will be shared with your followers. It lets everyone know you like that message and lets you help spread the word.  Retweeting is a great way to get started if you’re a little nervous about composing your own tweets.  To retweet, all you need to do is put your cursor over a tweet that you like, and you’ll see retweet highlighted. Click and you’ve just sent your first retweet!

What’s a hashtag? A hashtag allows you to categorize messages in twitter.  You precede a keyword with a hashtag, or the “#” symbol, to note a topic of interest. HBF typically uses simple twitter hashtags such as #hepatitis B, or #HBV in messages so that others interested in HBV topics will see HBF tweets. Rather than always putting them at the end of a tweet, they can be worked into the message. For example: “There are 400 million people chronically infected with #hepatitis B in the world.” Many viral hepatitis followers are using the #hepatitis hashtag, so they are sure to see the posted tweet. The hashtag will allow them to easily search twitter from the search box (top right) in twitter and retweet the message.  It might also encourage people to follow HBF since hepatitis B is an interest that is shared. When HBF sees people tweeting with the #hepatitis hashtag, HBF tends to follow them, and if they continue to post good content, they might be added to one of HBF’s twitter lists.

For purposes of the twitter chat, you’ll be able to follow and participate in the twitter conversation by adding the designated hashtag for the chat at the end of each twitter chat tweet. The hashtag for the November 19th twitter chat is #KnowHepB. Remember that hashtags are not case sensitive.

If you think you would like to share an outreach story, consider composing a series of tweets that describes your successes, lessons, learned etc. That way they will be the correct length and you won’t forget to add the #KnowHepB hashtag so it is seen by those that are following the conversation. Then it is simply a matter of cutting and pasting the tweet into the tweet box and possibly making quick adjustments.

How to create a twitter account: (Direct from twitter help)

1. Go to http://twitter.com and find the sign up box, or go directly to https://twitter.com/signup.
2. Enter your full name, email address, and a password.
3. Click Sign up for Twitter.
4. On the next page, you can select a username (usernames are unique identifiers on Twitter) — type your own or choose one we’ve suggested. We’ll tell you if the username you want is available.
5. Double-check your name, email address, password, and username.
6. Click Create my account. You may be asked to complete a Captcha to let us know that you’re human.

Twitter will send a confirmation email to the address you entered on sign up, click the link in that email to confirm your email address and account.

Logging into your twitter account

Go to https://twitter.com
Sign in with your email address and password

Want to follow others and be followed?

Promote your new twitter account to others by putting the information on your website, post it on your facebook page, and make it part of your email signature.  Start by following viral hepatitis organizations like the Hepatitis B Foundation (@HepBfoundation), CDCs Division of Viral Hepatitis (@cdchep), Hep B United (@HepBUnited) and Hep B United Philadelphia (@HepBUnitedPhila).  Follow other coalition members as they come on board, and consider the hepatitis B community and your own local community organizations and members that may be on twitter.  You’ll find others interested in hepatitis B by using the #hepatitis, #HBV, or #hepB hashtags in the search box.  You’ll find others interested in the Know Hepatitis B campaign by using the hashtag #knowHepB, which is the hashtag CDC and partners will continue to use moving forward.

In the beginning don’t worry that you do not have many followers. Building a following takes time. The more you participate the more followers you will gain. Start by “retweeting” others, (those you may or may not be following) and often they will follow back.

Want to use twitter from your mobile device?

If you have a smart phone, you can download the app for your iphone or android. It’s free.

Need some help getting started?

Twitter glossary of terms (for things like hashtags #, @handles, etc)

You can access  and search the Twitter Help Center at:

What’s next?

If you decide you enjoy using twitter and wish to promote your organization and resources via this social media outlet, you may wish to look into hootsuite or tweetdeck which allows you to manage and schedule your tweets and social media outlets.  At HBF, the HBF and Liver Cancer Connect twitter and facebook social media networks are maintained using Hootsuite. You can find the application at https://hootsuite.com/dashboard

See you Tuesday, November 19th at 3pm EST, with the Hashtag #KnowHepB !

Comments on this blog are closed. These blogs are not regularly reviewed or updated, and information, data, or practice recommendations/guidelines may have changed. If you have questions about hepatitis B or this blog post, please email info@hepb.org or call 215-489-4900.